Vegan diets prohibit all foods containing animal products, and rely instead on whole grains (quinoa, brown rice and oats) and legumes, nuts and seeds as sources of protein.
Vegans can satisfy their calcium requirements through eating green leafy vegetables, sesame seeds and fortified plant milks or cereals with added calcium content, while also taking steps to ensure they receive adequate Vitamin B12 and Iron intake.
Lower Risk of Heart Disease
Researchers have linked veganism with lower rates of heart disease. A plant-based diet consisting primarily of whole grains, beans, leafy greens and fruits provides plenty of fiber, antioxidants and essential nutrients like folate, choline, magnesium and more – making this type of eating plan highly recommended by scientists.
An appropriately planned vegan diet may provide sufficient protein, but may fall short in providing key nutrients such as calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, zinc and vitamin B12. A registered dietitian can assist in finding nutritious sources such as tofu, tempeh, quinoa, legumes and nuts to provide this essential nutrition.
However, typical vegan diets may lack essential choline nutrients that are required for producing brain chemicals like acetylcholine and liver function, muscle development and for fortified soy milks, nutritional yeast and eggs to produce enough acetylcholine to the brain. So consuming a protein shake made especially for vegans is recommended. Working with a registered dietitian can assist you in finding good sources of choline such as fortified soy milks, nutritional yeast and eggs or supplementing DHA/EPA supplements could also help.
Lower Risk of Cancer
Plant-based diets have been linked to reduced rates of cancers, heart disease and diabetes; however, those following such diets must ensure they receive enough essential vitamins such as B12, calcium, iron zinc and omega-3 fatty acids.
Eating a well-balanced plant-based diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables is one way to ensure you are receiving all of the essential vitamins and minerals for good health. Incorporating fortified foods like nutritional yeast and nondairy milk as well as taking multivitamin supplements into your daily routine are also crucial in making sure you receive all the required vitamins and minerals, which is particularly crucial during pregnancy as this diet will support brain development in baby.
Lower Risk of Diabetes
Many people follow a vegan diet as part of a strategy for managing diabetes and improving overall health. Veganism may lower their risk for complications associated with diabetes such as neuropathy.
However, vegan diets can be challenging for some individuals and may not provide enough energy and certain essential nutrients such as protein, folic acid, calcium, iron and zinc. Furthermore, taking vitamin B12 supplements may prevent deficiencies.
This essential nutrient helps maintain blood cells and nerves as well as assist with DNA production. You can find it in products like tofu, tempeh, and edamame; nutritional yeast; spirulina; fortified nondairy milks and vegan meat alternatives; as well as by eating deep orange vegetables and leafy greens from fruits and vegetables such as tofu.
Lower Risk of Inflammation
Veganism eliminates proteins found in meat, dairy and eggs that contribute to inflammation while simultaneously cutting back on processed and refined foods that could further aggravate it.
Studies have revealed that those who go vegan experience lower rates of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Furthermore, their weight control improves.
Dieting can be challenging when trying to maintain a vegan lifestyle without enough protein, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B12. To ensure they receive adequate amounts of these essential nutrients, those following such an eating lifestyle should consult a registered dietitian and work together on developing their food choices accordingly. They may need additional sources such as iodized salt, nutritional yeast and nondairy milks with fortified nondairy products for added nutrients; seaweed- and algae-based products also contain some form of iodine; The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has issued its position statement asserting that healthful vegetarian and vegan diets provide essential nutrition – both sources come directly from within themselves!
Lower Risk of Osteoporosis
Eating a vegan diet can provide the essential nutrients for bone health. A vegan diet boasts many calcium-rich foods like leafy greens, tofu and fortified plant milks – not to mention being low in acid-forming foods that leech calcium from bones!
Vegan diets also contain foods rich in proteins, such as beans and veggie meats. Protein can support bone health by increasing calcium absorption.
Some individuals on a vegan diet may require supplementing with calcium, particularly those over 65 or engaging in regular physical activity. A small daily dose of vitamin D is also important, along with iodine for thyroid support and iron for red blood cell production during pregnancy or breastfeeding – so please check with your healthcare provider prior to making major dietary changes.
Lower Risk of Weight Gain
Though there may be concerns, vegan diets provide ample protein and essential nutrients. One study concluded that they were linked with lower weight, body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol levels than other diets.
Plant-based diets tend to be rich in omega-3 fatty acids, an essential type of fat which may reduce inflammation and cholesterol. They’re also abundant in calcium – an essential mineral essential for bone health – so meeting daily calcium requirements requires eating foods like dark leafy vegetables, almonds, sesame seeds and fortified nondairy milk as well as fortified cereals, soy beverages or nutritional yeast containing vitamin B12. Aim for at least 2.4 milligrams each day!
Lower Risk of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a serious health condition that, left untreated, can have lasting repercussions. Studies suggest that vegetarians are at reduced risk of high blood pressure as compared with meat-eating people.
Vegan diets must be carefully tailored in order to provide essential vitamins and nutrients, such as B12, calcium, iron and omega-3 fatty acids (especially when pregnant or breastfeeding). Vegans can obtain vitamin B12 through fortified soy milk or breakfast cereal products or algae-based supplements.
Recent meta-analyses of 39 studies concluded that vegetarian diets significantly lowered both systolic and diastolic blood pressure when compared to omnivorous diets due to reduced sodium, saturated fat and added sugar intake from vegan diets. They are particularly suitable for people living with diabetes or pre-diabetes as well as overweight individuals.
Lower Risk of High Cholesterol
Vegan diets are packed with fiber and healthy fats that can help regulate cholesterol levels. In fact, several randomized controlled trials suggest that vegan diets tend to reduce total and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, triglycerides and Apolipoprotein B (apoB) levels more effectively than their omnivorous counterparts.
Some essential nutrients may be more challenging to acquire when following a vegan diet, including protein, iron, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12 and iodine. Therefore it’s wise to consult a registered dietitian when transitioning to veganism; they will ensure you plan meals that ensure adequate nutritional intake – sources for proteins include beans and legumes, whole grains, tofu, soy products, quinoa nuts as well as unsaturated oils like olive, canola or vegetable as well as avocado and chia seeds; for vitamin D naturally exposed mushrooms are natural sources.